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The New York Times’ List of Potential New Countries, and Others As Well

Submitted by on September 24, 2013 – 9:00 pm 186 Comments |  
About a year ago, two New York Times journalists, Frank Jacobs and Parag Khanna, wrote an opinion article listing eleven potential new countries that they expect to emerge in the near future. They write:

“we appear on the brink of yet another nation-state baby boom. This time, the new countries will not be the product of a single political change or conflict, as was the post-Soviet proliferation, nor will they be confined to a specific region. If anything, they are linked by a single, undeniable fact: history chews up borders with the same purposeless determination that geology does, as seaside villas slide off eroding coastal cliffs.”

Here is their list of potential geopolitical changes to look out for. The links below are to numerous GeoCurrents posts about these “potential countries”.

Azawad, languages, map1. Mali Breaks Up

Both Berber nationalism and the rise of radical Islam led to the separation of Azawad, Mali’s vast northern Sahara territory, which the Tuareg rebels declared as an independent territory on April 6, 2012. What has remained unmentioned in most media reports, including the NYT article, however, is the ethnic diversity in Azawad: the relatively densely inhabited southern part of this self-declared state is occupied largely by non-Tuareg peoples, which complicates the political situation considerably.

Belgium language map2. Belgium (Finally) Splits Up

Jacobs and Khanna describe Belgium as “divided along linguistic lines between French and Flemish speakers … drifting toward a split for decades”. The country’s unusual political history is often blamed for the crisis of the Belgian state. But the division into Flemish-speaking north and Francophone south is not as clear cut as many pundits describe it.

 

DRC443. Congo Splinters

According to Jacobs and Khanna, in DRC “the state is so weak that some experts question whether it can be said to substantively exist at all” and GeoCurrents once called it a “Potemkin State”. Ethnic incoherence and economic strife, as well as its other geographical challenges, have been tearing the country for decades. Whether it actually falls apart and whether any parts of it will remerge with other existing countries remains to be seen.

 

Map-of-Somalia4. Somalia’s Breakup Confirmed

Jacobs and Khanna see the recent events in Somalia as the country’s  “best chance to emerge from decades as the world’s poster child for state failure”. They note further that “Puntland and Somaliland, the eastern and western thirds of the country, want no part in the party as they continue to build their own economies, largely around pirating, and operate their own administration and police forces”. But given that Somalia’s official government cannot even control Mogadishu, the fact that Somalia claims Somaliland and Puntland means little. There is also a interesting question of whether Puntland has anything to do with the historical Land of Punt—the answers appears to be “not much”. Somaliland, for its part, is a relatively well governed state that has little if any connection with piracy.

Alawite-State-Map5. Alawites Go Solo

Jacobs and Khanna’s #5 is even more timely now than it was a year ago. They describe several possibilities for the “new Syria”. One is that it would “resemble its erstwhile client state Lebanon: religions exerting squatters’ rights in the empty shell of central government”. Another possibility is that it would “revert to the ethnic puzzle laid out by the French: separate states for the Druse and the Alawites, and city-states for Damascus and Aleppo. The Alawite state, home to the dominant sect in Bashar al-Assad’s Syria, would control the fertile, mountainous coastline and is perhaps the most viable contender for separate statehood”. The ethno-religious complexity of Syria is described in great detail in a GeoCurrents post from two years ago. We find it curious that the Druze, who dominate the Jabal al-Druze volcanic plateau in southern Syria, are almost never mentioned in current reporting on the Syrian civil war.

arabian peninsula map6. The Arabian Gulf Union

Jacobs and Khanna consider the possibility of both Bahrain and Yemen joining Saudi Arabia, though the backgrounds of the two imagined mergers would be entirely different. What unifies these Sunni Arab monarchies is a common threat from Iran. Yemen, however, is often characterized as a failing state, while Bahrain’s territorial disputes with Iran may bring it closer to Saudi Arabia. Bahrain’s Shiite majority, however, makes this issue especially complex. Jacobs and Khanna’s map further shows Oman becoming another member of this potential “Arabian Gulf Union”. Although a number of problem are faced by the royal dynasty in Oman, the fact the country has neither a Sunni nor a Shiite majority, but rather one of the stand-offish Ibadi sect, makes such a merger highly unlikely.

Kurdistan7. An Independent Kurdistan

Another potential Middle Eastern newcomer in the geopolitical club is an independent Kurdistan, unifying Kurdish territories in Iraq, Iran, northern Syria, and Turkey. In the very least, an independent Kurdish state may arise in northern Iraq, where “the Kurdistan Regional Government … is by far the country’s most stable sector, flying its own flag and cutting energy and infrastructure deals on its own with Exxon and Turkish firms”, state Jacobs and Khanna. But the relationship between the Kurdistan Regional Government and the area’s Christian community are complicated, to say the least. Yezidis is another fascinating religious sect in the region. Kurdish populations in Syrian, Turkey, and Iran face their own very different challenges.

Azeri Iran map8. Greater Azerbaijan

According to Jacobs and Khanna, Iran is “at risk of internal implosion”, with Azeri speaking northwestern part of the country potentially splintering off and joining with already independent Azerbaijan. Azeris on both sides of the border are ethnic Turks speaking a Turkic language and there has been some rapprochement between Iran and Azerbaijan in recent years. Still, Iran’s Azeris show few signs of seeking autonomy, much less independence or union with Azerbaijan. Moreover, Iranian nationalists dreaming of “the Greater Iran” virtually always include the Azeri-speaking territories into Iranian sphere. Iranian Azeris are far from marginalized, and many are strong supporters of the Iranian state.

Pushtunistan map9. Pashtunistan and Baluchistan Take a Stand

Jacobs and Khanna predict that “with no cohesive figure in sight to lead Afghanistan after President Hamid Karzai, and with Pakistan mired in dysfunctional sectarianism and state weakness, a greater Pashtunistan could coagulate across the Durand Line, which divides the two countries”. Afghan identity is indeed a complex and contentious issue. Moreover, Jacobs and Khanna see a possibility of the gas-rich Baluchistan gaining independence. It is important to note that the leaders of the self-proclaimed Baluchistan include the Iranian Balochistan within its boundaries, which is bound to cause problems with Iran.

Divided_russia10. China Gobbles Up Siberia

Jacobs and Khanna see a real possibility of China “taking over large chunks of Siberia, part of Russia’s failing and emptying East”. They describe the current situation as follows:

“Hundreds of thousands of Chinese have already crossed the border at the Amur River and set up trading settlements, intermarrying with Russians and Siberia’s native nomadic minorities. Russia has a nuclear arsenal with which to fend off formal threats to its sovereignty, but the demographic imbalance is to Russia’s disadvantage and could accelerate the economic shift in China’s favor. Russia’s far eastern outpost of Vladivostok is ever more distant from Moscow.”

GeoCurrents, however, does not believe that China poses a realistic geopolitical threat to Russia. Whether Russia will fall apart into a number of smaller states is another fascinating question, however, which GeoCurrents considered in detail in two separate posts.

Korea map11. Korea Reunited

According to Jacobs and Khanna,

“In an echo of German unification, a collapse of the North Korean regime would pave the way for the militarized border to open up and disappear. In fact, South Korean strategists are already quietly building a regional coalition to manage the economic and social costs of absorbing the hermit kingdom.”

How well such potential integration of North Korea may go is not clear, however, and even South Korea remains characterized by intense regionalism in politics, as is evident from recent election returns. For all of that, however, Korean nationalism remains a potent force.

 

EuropeMap_2020

Additional suggestions for potential new countries have also been made elsewhere. ComingAnarchy.com lists the following newly independent states that could splinter off existing countries in Europe: Scotland (currently part of the UK), Normandy, Brittany, and Corsica (France), Basque Republic and Catalonia, the latter with or without the Balearic Islands (Spain), Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria (Germany), Padania and Sardinia (Italy).

mapa_pot_nez_ENG

An even more radical map of “Potential independent states in Europe” (whose original author I was not able to establish as it has been reposted on multiple websites without proper reference) lists, in addition to the already mentioned candidates: United Ireland, created by joining together the current Republic of Ireland and the Northern Ireland) and Wales in the British Isles; Galicia and Andalusia (Spain); Trentino South-Tyrol in northern Italy; Republica Srpska and Herzeg-Bosnia (which together currently form Bosnia and Herzegovina); Kosovo and Metohia in southern Serbia; Trasdnistria; North Ossetia, Chechnya, and Abkhazia in northern Caucasus region; Nagorno-Karabakh; and Northern Cyprus.

Paisos Catalans

GeoCurrents has written extensively about these problematic regions and nationalist movements (follow links above), but Catalonia in particular is worth mentioning in view of the 250-mile human chain created in support of Catalan independence on 11 September 2013. Approximately 1.6 million people in Spain participated in this event, which became known as The Catalan Way towards Independence, or simply The Catalan Way. It was organized by the Assemblea Nacional Catalana (Catalan National Assembly), an organization that seeks the political independence of Catalonia from Spain through democratic means. Catalan nationalists have chosen public demonstrations and electoral politics over violence, in sharp contrast to hard-core Basque nationalists, who have long embraced militancy, attacking the Spanish state and its institutions with bombs and guns. It appears that the Catalan strategy has been much more successful than that of the Basques. Not just Spaniards at large, but the majority of Basques themselves have been so disgusted with the terrorism of the separatist ETA (Euskadi Ta Askatasuna) that the movement for Basque nationhood has lost its impetus. Catalan nationalism, by contrast, is gaining ground.

One of the reasons behind the Catalan independence movement is the desire to protect the local culture, which revolves around the Catalan language. Like Spanish, Catalan is a Romance language that evolved from Latin after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century CE. But despite being spoken in the Iberian Peninsula, Catalan is more closely related to French and Italian than to Spanish. For example, the Catalan word for ‘summer’ is estiu, derived from the same root as French été and Italian estate but not Spanish verano.  Similarly, the verb ‘to want’ in Catalan is voler, closely related to the French vouloir and Italian volere, whereas Spanish querer is clearly different. Both Catalan and Spanish incorporated words from Arabic, but not necessarily the same ones: Catalan borrowed alfàbia meaning ‘large earthware jar’ and rajola meaning ‘tile’, whereas Spanish adopted aceite and aceituna, meaning ‘oil’ and ‘olive’, respectively.

The Catalan language, however, is not limited to Catalonia. It is the national and only official language of the tiny country of Andorra, and a co-official language of the Balearic Islands and Valencia in Spain. It is also spoken, without official recognition, in parts of Aragon and Murcia in Spain, and in the French region of Roussillon. Because Catalan culture extends well beyond Catalonia, many sources explain the surging Catalan independence movement in economic rather than cultural terms. Catalonia is one of the wealthiest parts of Spain, and the taxes collected there subsidize the poorer parts of the country. With Spain’s current economic crisis, many of the region’s residents feel that they can no longer afford to support Extremadura and other poorer parts of the country. Such economic issues have the potential to bind indigenous Catalans with migrants from other parts of Spain who now live in the region.

The Spanish constitution bans outright votes on secession, and it is unclear whether most Catalans want full independence or merely enhanced autonomy. Even so, Catalonia appears to be well on the path “by which the citizens of Catalonia will be able to choose their political future as a people”, as stated in the recently adopted Catalan Sovereignty Declaration.

800px-Hungarian_Regional_Autonomy02_map

Finally, another territory that has not been mentioned in those lists of potential independent states is Vojvodina. In late 2009 Serbia granted its northern area of Vojvodina control over its own regional development, agriculture, tourism, transportation, health care, mining, and energy. Vojvodina, population two million, even gained representation in the European Union (although it will be allowed to sign only regional agreements, not international ones). Autonomy rather than independence, however, appears to be what the majority of local residents, 65% of whom are Serbian, want. Vojvodinans evidently favor autonomy largely for economic reasons. But claims for heightened self-rule can lead to further claims; already a local ethnic Hungarian group wants its own autonomous zone within the larger autonomous area of Vojvodina.

 

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  • http://blog.widmann.org.uk/ Thomas Widmann

    Interesting article. I do think, however, that you perhaps should have highlighted Scotland a bit more, given that it’s to my knowledge the only potential new country where the date for the independence referendum is already known: 18th September 2014.

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Thanks Thomas. The Scotland issue is certainly a fascinating one, perhaps we shall write a separate post on it soon.

      • HoundsTooth

        What’s going to happen re: Scotland taking on it’s ‘fair share’ of England’s debt? Last time I read (which wasn’t recently, nor was it in much depth), this matter was still unsettled. On a brighter note, what will the currency be? And will there be default EU entry???

        • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

          These are excellent questions and I wish I did know more about this. As for currency, there’s sort of a separate currency: although it’s still the same pound sterlings, the currency issued by the Bank of Scotland is only accepted in Scotland (though banknotes issued by the Bank of England or some such are accepted in Scotland as well). My point is that they can easily make only those Scotland-issued banknotes valid. In fact, some business owners we met in Scotland much preferred to be paid by Scotland-issued money, though they couldn’t of course refuse the other banknotes…

          • HoundsTooth

            of course, there will be the strong nationalist push and, of course, the urge to de-colonialise (if you can call it that!)…

          • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

            Well, between England and Scotland it’s hard to tell who colonized who, if you even want to use that term…

          • pawl dunbar

            Not from where I’m standing, its not. The so-called Union of equal partners was brought about by bribing an elite, and Scotland soon descended into a mere appendage, It was a typical bit of colonialist sleaze pulled on Scotland by the expanding English empire.

          • http://blog.widmann.org.uk/ Thomas Widmann

            The Scottish banknotes are issues by commercial banks, so that’s not the same as having a separate national currency.

          • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

            Of course not. But there’s definitely a sense of pride about their own “currency” among the Scots, which is all I wanted to point out.

          • http://www.polgeonow.com/ Evan (PolGeoNow)

            I think some national currencies are issued by commercial banks. I know that Hong Kong’s is like that, though it’s not technically a “national” currency.

        • http://blog.widmann.org.uk/ Thomas Widmann

          The Scottish Government and the Yes campaign have always consistently argued that they’re happy to split the debts if the assets are split, too (i.e., Scotland should also get 9% of the army, the navy, the embassies). If, on the other hand, the rUK (“rest of UK”) refuse to split the assets, Scotland expects not to inherit the debt, either.

          The SNP want to keep the Pound Sterling for the foreseeable future, but other Yes campaigners want to create a separate Scottish currency.

          As for EU entry, there are no provisions in the EU treaties to kick existing EU citizens out of the Union, so the most likely scenario is that Scotland will remain inside but without voting rights until a new accession treaty has been signed (which ought to be a mere formality).

          • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

            Debt + assets or neither, that certainly seems fair!

          • Saim Dušan Inayatullah

            Incidentally, this is also one of the things that makes Catalan nationalists optimistic about their independence process. Even though the Spanish constitution does not foresee bits of Spain splitting up and thus Madrid has no interest in allowing a referendum, if Catalonia were to organize local elections as a plebiscite and then declare independence on that basis, Spain would have to accept the independence because without the Catalan-speaking areas and the Basque Country they have very little capacity to pay off the national debt.

            So in Catalonia the issue is more debt + international recognition/EU membership rather than debt + assets, since the UK accepted the referendum while Spain did not.

      • http://blog.widmann.org.uk/ Thomas Widmann

        If you do write about Scotland, there’s also a lot of new census results released today to delve into (1.5m speakers of Scots, for instance): http://www.scotlandscensus.gov.uk/documents/censusresults/release2a/StatsBulletin2A.pdf

        • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

          Thank you for the link! Definitely a fascinating topic that we should explore further!

      • pawl dunbar

        In addition, Cornwall’s constitutional position makes inclusion in the so-called United Kingdom an anomaly. Following Scotland’s referendum, the possibility of independence will be increasingly perceived as both desirable and achievable by the population of Wales and Cornwall.

  • Pingback: The New York Times’ List of Potential New Countries, and Others As Well | GeoCurrents | Humbert.Cat

  • Jordi Guardiola

    300 years (1714-2014) is too much time to be struggling to preserve the own language, culture and money. Catalonia will be independent in 2014 because our people deserve it. //*//

    • Jordi Parera

      Weel said! Catalonia is a Nation with full rights and its people need to get free of the oppressive and stealing treatment of Spain.

    • Euan

      as do the Scottish people we Europeans seeking independence sand together

    • http://www.BarnesFamily.com/ davebarnes

      Madrid will not allow it to happen in 2014.

      • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

        I guess we’ll just see…

  • Pobsant

    If you want to know more about Catalunya, check out the documentary “Free Catalunya (…with every paella) on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FT8URXVz684

  • HoundsTooth

    China will fracture too…Xinjiang can only hang out only so much longer. Similar with Tibet. Inner Mongolia has more Mongols living in it than Mongolia. That country is ripe for dissolution…even Manchuria is tenuously ‘Han’…

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Excellent points again. We tend to underestimate how big and complex China is, don’t we? The imperial tendency would make it hard to certain regions to splinter though, wouldn’t they?

      • HoundsTooth

        China proper is so much smaller. I always get into trouble with the Chinese when I mention this, but China is gonna face some massive problems in the coming century. There is always so much unrest in these regions, you can only suppress a people for so long…

        • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

          Some countries seem to be much better than others in suppressing other peoples…

        • Randy McDonald

          It’s not obvious that “China proper” is a meaningful distinction, at least not in the sense that you’re referring to. At the very least, the Han Chinese ecumene has expanded signfiicantly and durably over the past century, to include the regions beyond the willow palisades.

          • HoundsTooth

            china proper is the area of china where han chinese people actually have history and a connection to the land. recent mass migration does not make it ‘china’…

          • Randy McDonald

            Migration alone doesn’t confer sovereignty./ Migration along with the actual exercise of sovereignty does.
            As I’m sure you know from the Wikipedia article on China proper, that term only denotes a political frontier. It doesn’t relate strictly to ethnicity: the south and west of China proper, for instance, have traditionally been home to any number of non-Chinese peoples, while Han Chinese have lived outside. Han Chinese settlement in Inner Mongolia dates to the 18th cenmtury, while the large migrations into Manchuria began in the 19th century. Chinese majorities in both regions likely date back at least that far.
            Taking a frontier that made sense primarily for political reasons not ethnic ones centuries ago, making it into an ethnic frontier, and then insisting that this ethnic frontier should remain relevant indefinitely regardless of what other changes happen, is many things. It’s ethically questionable, for instance. More importantly, it’s useless.
            What is the point of insisting that Manchuria should be treated as inevitably separate from China if the people living in Manchuria aren’t likely to see it this way? How will it benefit anyone’s understanding of Chinese regionalism and separatism to miscategorize one sort of region as another sort? It might signal your opinions on an issue, but that’s it. It’s not serious.

    • Randy McDonald

      Xinjiang overall already has a Chinese plurality, if not an outright majority. Southern Xinjiang has less of a Chinese population than the north for now, but will this persist?
      A Mongolian separatist movement in Inner Mongolia is a non-starter. There are absolutely more Mongols in Inner Mongolia than in independent Mongolia, but there are at least four times as many Chinese in Inner Mongolia as there are Mongols. This makes Inner Mongolian secession a non-starter.
      Tibet–whether we’re talking about the Tibetan Autonomous Region alone or all of ethnographic, “greater” Tibet–is much more of a possibility. Leaving sympathy globally for Tibetan issues and culture aside, Tibetans are still a large majority in their historic homeland and are likely to remain as such. Tibetan areas just aren’t very economically attractive. It’s open to question whether continuing distinctiveness alone will be enough, given the continuing relative poverty as well as Chinese state control.

      • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

        Great points, Randy, and I agree. Thanks for jumping into this fascinating discussion.

      • HoundsTooth

        sheer weight of population is the only thing in the Han’s favour, nothing else. Tenuous links to the region, minimal integration into the (then) prevailing culture and system, and even less recognition of what was done to ‘Sinify’ the region post 1949…my Inner Mongolia students tell me that their idealistic Han parents’ wish to make the border regions Chinese are ultimately failing as their children, as soon as they reach work/university age, are fleeing back to the eastern coast of China.

        I personally don’t see this massively centralised government holding out for much longer (before I die, at least), and when that crumbles, I think much of China’s vast land will fracture. We may even have a situation like the one in one of the central Asian nations where there is a large Russian population who remained…

        It will happen. ‘When?’ is the question…

        • Randy McDonald

          The previous Mongol political and economic system has been disrpted fatally by integration with China, while the overwhelming weight of the population is as you note Chinese. The region is as Sinified as Hawaii is Americanized. As for the drift east, sure. I expect Mongols are making the same trip.
          Some sort of regime transition in China is likely as the country continues to develop. Wholesale collapse on the Soviet model seems unlikely, especially if you’re talking about regions like Inner Mongolia and Manchuria which a) have overwhelming Chinese majorities and b) have no substantial separatist movements operating within these majorities. What incentive do Chinese in Inner Mongolia or Heilongjiang have to declare independence from Beijing?

          Tibet is exceptional, as a largely non-Chinese territory by population that’s likely to remain largely non-Chinese by population for some time to come. Even Xinjiang falls short, with an emergent Chinese majority, an efficiently repressive state, and a lack of foreign sympthizers.

          • HoundsTooth

            look, we’re unlikely to agree, so maybe it’s best if we move on. all i’m saying is that china’s ‘claim’ to land on the outer fringes of their nation are only linked to actually being there. and with the sheer force of numbers that the chinese population is/has, it is indeed a mighty force. they haven’t integrated, assimilated or even adopted any of the local customs (in xinjiang at least); they’ve basically arrived in great numbers, and with the economic force they can exert, they have effectively changed the cultural landscape. they have been in xinjiang and tibet for 60 something years. not long at all. no connection to the land, the culture, the people. similar to what europeans did in the americas, australia and elsewhere. forget about economics, demographics and any other topics as such; the Han went to these parts to Sinify as if to add some sort of legitimacy to them claiming the territory. Force of economics, military might and weight of numbers does not bond you to the land. that’s basically all i’m saying…

          • Randy McDonald

            “all i’m saying is that china’s ‘claim’ to land on the outer fringes of their nation are only linked to actually being there

            [. . .]

            Force of economics, military might and weight of numbers does not bond you to the land”

            You’re quite right: China’s authority over all of its territories, save maybe Tibet which never quite managed to become independent, is a conseA state’s agencies–including its military–actually being present in a territory, populated by people who want to be citizens/subjects of that state and who are integrated into the wider economic, political and cultural communities associated with that state,

          • HoundsTooth

            for what it’s worth, i agree with practically all you’re saying here. you seem quite educated on the topic, and that’s fine, but you seem to be missing my point. it’s back-and-forwarded and it’s getting repetitive. let me use my own ‘native’ australia as a final example for you; white europeans (and i’m one of them) can build as many buildings, create as many laws, institute whatever political and monetary systems and outnumber the locals as much as they want/can; this will ALWAYS be indiginous australian aborigine land. nothing will change that. whatever has happened, has happened. these three chinese borderlands mentioned all share one common feature; they are not native han lands. you can flood as many people as you want into a land. if you consider ‘claiming’ land as being there, that’s all on you.

          • Randy McDonald

            “you seem to be missing my point”

            If I have, it’s because you’re not been making it nearly clearly enough.

            By classifying one set of regions (Manchuria, Inner Mongolia) as being basically similar to another (Tibet, Xinjiang), notwithstanding the very significant differences between the two, you’re making a basic category mistake that doesn’t help anyone’s understanding. By writing blithely about millions of people leaving their homes because they don’t belong there, you’re potentially sounding like someone with unpleasant motives in mind.

            (You know that the Chinese aren’t indigenous to much of “China proper”? Southern China was incorpiorated into the Chinese sphere in historical times, sometimes at a late date. Shall we send the Chinese packing from Guangzhou?)

            “this will ALWAYS be indiginous australian aborigine land. nothing will change that.”

            Perhaps, but at a certain point in Australia’s case it would be politically self-defeating for Aborigine leaders to be talking as if all non-Aborigine Australians exist in Australia at their sufferance, not least because, well, that’s not true. (Claims like that would be a good way to shut down whatever dialogue has started.)
            In any case, I’m not convinced that Manchuria or even Inner Mongolia fit your paradigms. By the time that large-scale migration into Manchuria began in the 19th century, the Manchu had already become highly Sinified, less an ethnic group and more of a ruling class, and the Qing actively sponsored Chinese immigration. That’s one reason why Japan’s Manchukuo was such an artificial state: there was a passingly very weak constituency aligned with it. Inner Mongolia began at an even earlier date.

            Chinese in these regions are at least as indigenous as anyone in the various newly-settled lands of the overseas world, often more so. Treating them as if they’re inconveniences with no right to live where they do just repeats the tropes of the previous century’s imperialisms.
            Talk about Xinjiang and Tibetan self-determination, sure. Just do so smartly, and try to distinguish between the ethical and practical.

    • Randy McDonald

      As for Manchuria, I don’t know what you mean. That region’s final attachment to China mighy be historically recent, but 90%+ of the region’s population is Han. There is some Russian and North Korean immigration to the region, but certainly not nearly enough to threaten the Han majority. (The Manchu population is a very small proportion of the total, and very highly assimilated.)

      It’s difficult to imagine circumstances where a Manchurian separatist movement could get off the ground. The close association of the last effort at a separate Manchurian state with brutal foreign imperialists would seem to have discredited that cause.

      • HoundsTooth

        Manchuria is multi-cultural, sure, but the Han population (or the large number of Hans) is a recent phenomenon. Most of the outer regions are recent migrations. It will be interesting to see how long they last. Already we are seeing uprisings against the Han in Xinjiang, this may continue to get even worse…

        • Randy McDonald

          Well in excess of a hundred million Han Chinese live in Manchuria, the overwhelming majority of the region’s population. This Han majority has been established for at least a century, and seems at least as implanted as Russians in Siberia or Americans in California and Texas.

          It’s difficult to imagine anything short of a Chinese military defeat on par with Germany’s in 1945 that could see this population displaced. And even then, who could do the displacing? None of the neighbours–Russia, Japan, any hypothetical Korean state–are in a position to do anything like this, or want to do this.

          As for Xinjiang, there’s less reason to think Uighur uprisings could lead to a Chinese withdrawal than there is to think that Kashmiri uprisings will lead to an Indian withdrawal from that periphery. There is an emergent Chinese majority in Xinjiang, the Uighurs have no external patrons comparable to Pakistan, and the Chinese state is rather less attached to human rights and more efficient at suppressing restive populations than the Indian.

  • HoundsTooth

    Also, I’ve spoken to Christian (Aramaic-speaking) Iraqi Kurdistani people, and they’ve mentioned that ‘Arabic Iraq’ (as he said it’s known) needs to apply for business permits and even, in some situations, travel visas. He told me they have their own military/army and even the economy is separate from the rest of Iraq. It’s basically its own independent nation. He did say there was an unspoken fear that it would be attacked once independence was declared. From who (or what) he did not say…

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Excellent points, thanks for sharing! Indeed, there’s a lot more complexity to Iraq than most Americans realize (or even than American political leadership realized before entering the war there).

      • HoundsTooth

        Thanks for that. I’m an English teacher, and this info is on very good authority. My student used to work for the UNHCR (or some UN agency, at least) and so I trust him with this stuff. He also told me how Kurdistan will effectively be supporting the rest of Iraq. He went on to tell me how oil is EVERYWHERE. In some places as little as 2 metres underground. Apparently, construction crew face issues the rest of us would not understand…

        • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

          Well, let’s not get carried away, oil is far from being everywhere; in fact, most of Iraq is empty of oil or people…

          • HoundsTooth

            Maybe in comparison to the south it is…

      • David

        “….before entering the war there”. Are you for real?

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  • agueda

    Brilliant article. Greetings from Catalonia. I wish the land of Valencia got independence alongside Catalonia (I’m from alacant) but if not, at least Catalonia.

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Thank you!

  • Jason Hughes

    Scotland and Catalonia will be the catalyst for all the celtic European states to explore independence dare I say freedom. I dream of a Celtic union within Europe which includes Wales. 2014 could be the most defining year in Celtic history.

    • Krash

      Catalonia is not related at all with the celtic countries…

      • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

        Exactly, there’s nothing Celtic about Catalonia.

        • Pablo Merlíes

          In the villages in the catalan Pyrinees people still use pumpkin lanterns in Halloween, see http://ca.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fitxer:Celts.svg . But of course pre-Roman influence was mostly Iber, the Catalan culture has an stronger occitan/carolingian substrate. It is now an industrialized mediterranean culture.

          • SirBedevere

            If putting a candle inside a fruit makes one “Celtic,” then Japan is full of Celts.

          • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

            Haha!

          • pawl dunbar

            Well, it has two, anyway! One is a Cornish speaking – and Japanese speaking – friend living near Hiroshima, married to a Japanese lady. The other – who visited Cornwall a couple of decades ago – is a descendant of Cap’n Dick – the celebrated Richard Trevithick. Though I forget his full name I know that he carries the name Trevithick as a middle name – and is, coincidentally, a railway engineer… and Cap’n Dick was “..the father of high pressure steam”…

        • pawl dunbar

          You may well be right., The six Celtic countries are defined by possessing Celtic languages, even if only used by a minority of the population. But if Catalonia or Asturias or whatever are proud of their Celtic heritage as manifested in certain cultural traits (and Celts were everywhere in Europe) then I have no problem with that and would never seek to define another’s identity. I know that people from Asturias have taken part in Celtic festivals in Cornwall and Wales (and were made welcome – I have talked with some of them) so there is some empathy, at least. And I have heard that vernacular architecture in Asturias has Celtic features…

      • Jason Hughes

        But still another theory suggests that the source of the name catalonia has a Celtic origin, and it refers to “chiefs of battle”. Although the area is not known to have been occupied by Celts, the Celtic culture was present in the central part of the Iberian peninsula during pre-Roman times. The celtic nations have a strong affinity to the Catalan cause as they do with the basques and although not part of the celtic league I’m sure the celtic countries will be very supportive to their eventual independence within Europe. There is a strong understanding and sympathy for their cause on the basis I guess that like their celtic friends they too have fought hard to protect a unique culture within a larger more dominant culture against the odds.

        • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

          Supporting Catalan independence cause because it would set much needed political precedent is one thing, but cultural, linguistic or genetic affinity with Celtic peoples is quite another. In pre-Roman times Celts used to inhabit a much wider territory than they do now, of course, but in many of those areas, including Spain and France, and Central Europe north of the Alps, the original Celts left no contemporary presence. Breton is a different matter: those are descendants of emigres from the British Isles:
          http://geocurrents.info/cultural-geography/linguistic-geography/breton-language-taught-harvard

          • Jason Hughes

            Really? That’s very academic of you. Sure your view from a university office is technically correct but as someone raised in a celtic country, speaks a celtic language as a first language and actually lives in a country with an actual culture not a country which is determined to destroy almost any culture it disagrees with, then I can guarantee that in the celtic countries I know there will be Catalan and Scottish flags flying next year. For me that says there is a strong affinity with each others struggles and cultures. I love the Catalan people and their culture and that’s because we have experienced very similar lives-for me that justifies an affinity but you may not nderstand that in the states. It’s about what the actual people living on the ground in those countries actually feel. Sure it will differ from your view but I’d hardly expect otherwise to be honest. The shock for Americans is that these days we have a very strong Europe and their people’s have a strong European identity forming as well. So despite being celtic I have a close bond to many European countries. After all we are all European now!

          • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

            “That’s very academic of you.” — I’ll take that as a complement.

            While I understand the affinity with (some) regions/peoples that likewise seek independence or autonomy, I don’t see why you have to append the label “Celtic” to them. It makes the term really meaningless. Were the Jews in the 1930s “Celtic”? Are Tibetans today?

            Moreover, I don’t see why you have to be so offensive towards the country where I live (which you don’t seem to understand very well either). Is the case that to be/feel “European” means to say BS about the United States? Why can’t you have cultural identity and pride in your people without putting down someone else?

          • Jason Hughes

            Sure you may have seen that as offensive but I guess it was a reaction to your rather dismissive and elitist dare i say weak initial put down in your first comment. It always surprises me when the Americans get upset when people fire back. The country that feels it knows about culture but tries everything it possibly can to interfere and mess up and usually bomb everyone else’s. I could go on but it’s not personal.

          • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

            “…a reaction to your rather dismissive and elitist dare i say weak initial put down in your first comment” — there was nothing dismissive or elitist in my post or my comments. I am simply pointing out that the fact that though they may share certain political aspirations, there is no common cultural, linguistic or genetic background to Catalonia and the Celtic lands in the British Islands.

            And as for bombing everyone, I believe the last time Celts (and other Brits) were bombed was by the Germans during WWII, and the Americans were
            their allies, not their enemies.

            But are such facts even interesting for you? You seem to have an entirely different agenda. Problem is this is not the place for it. I refer you to the GeoCurrents Comments Policy (just above the comment section). This is not a forum for sharing one’s political or ideological aspirations, and especially one’s nationalistic rantings.

          • pawl dunbar

            Owch! The word ‘Brit’ is tricky. Problem is it has been taken over by the (English) media to mean ‘English’. Consequently politically aware Cornish, Welsh and Scots prefer not to be labelled as such… along with about half the population of Northern Ireland.

  • stevelaudig

    Perhaps adding the longest occupied country as re-emerging. the Hawaiians’ Islands…. occupied a peaceful, neutral, democracy occupied by the US empire since 1893.

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      I don’t see any serious independence movement brewing in Hawaii…

    • SirBedevere

      I suppose that depends on how one defines an occupied country. Copts might consider their country occupied by Arabs, American Indians might consider various countries occupied by Europeans, and Miao might consider their country occupied by Chinese, not that I would agree with any of them.

      • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

        Great point!

      • Randy McDonald

        I am somewhat curious and concerned how the meme of Copts as indigenous to an Egypt colonized by Muslims came about. By and large, Egyptian Muslims are of Coptic descent, tracing their ancestry to individual Copts who converted.

        The process was slow and gradual–Egypt had a Coptic majority perhaps as late as the 13th century–and certainly took place in the context of at least some official coercion. It was not a New World-style repopulation of Egypt by invading Arab Muslims.

        Is this connected with the myths of Eurabia, I wonder?

        • Saim Dušan Inayatullah

          I agree 100% with your analysis, it does seem to be connected to Christian Islamophobia given that both Christian and Muslim Egyptians speak Arabic and are descended from the essentially the same pre-Arabic population.

      • Saim Dušan Inayatullah

        Hawai’i was annexed and colonized by the United States, no?

  • Nadia Al-Belushi

    I read the New York Times article and genuinely felt as though it was rushed into publication by its authors. Unfortunately, the article seems to fall into the category of “lazy journalism”. Many of the points raised in that piece could have easily been verified, by the co-authors themselves, via a quick internet search with Google. Anyway, I’ll only discuss the scenarios that I can relate to the most, as I certainly don’t wish to bore the readers by making my post longer than it should be, although I fear that’s unavoidable LOL.

    There was no such proposal for establishing a so-called “Arabian Gulf Union”. At least, that wasn’t the name that the heads of the GCC member states had in mind. The official name was going to be “The Union of the Arab States of the Gulf”, otherwise known simply as “The GCC Union” and/or “The Khaleeji Union” by most people. (Khaleeji means “of or related to the Gulf” in the Arabic language.) Notice how the name does not emphasize the cultural/ethnic affiliation of that body of water, which is exactly how the GCC leaders intended it to be, for diplomatic reasons. As a citizen of Kuwait, I don’t mind a GCC Union, provided it promotes the same values as the European Union. But I’m afraid the chances of a liberal/secular union in the Arabian peninsula sounds far-fetched, especially since the union is being primarily backed by Saudi Arabia, which still practices Wahhabi Islam at the state level. This brings me to my second point, which is the general consensus on the idea of establishing a union between the six member states of the GCC. Most Kuwaitis don’t want anything to do with a union that might see the rise of Saudi-Wahhabi influence in the country. It’s not compatible with Kuwait’s diverse demographic of Shiite and Sunni Muslims, as well as irreligious people, who hail from not only Arab origins but non-Arab origins as well — particularly Iranian origins. The other GCC states aren’t too fond of joining such union either, especially Oman, who have a long and proud history in Arabia and aren’t interested in playing second fiddle to the Saudis, and the United Arab Emirates, who already rejected the proposal of a unified currency, after the Saudis refused to let Dubai become the financial hub of the pan-GCC economic plan. As for the Yemeni people, most of them aren’t fond of Saudi Arabia, in spite of the close relations between the despotic regimes of both nations; and Yemen will never be part of the GCC, much less part of a hypothetical union.

    Moreover, the fate of Saudi Arabia is extremely uncertain. Many people think the Saudi state will cease to exist beyond 2030, given that Iraq is slowly becoming the main Middle Eastern energy exporter to the West, while the natural gas and oil reserves of Saudi Arabia are rapidly depleting in number with every passing year, which undoubtedly means that the Saudis wont be protected by the West for much longer. Without oil, the chances of Saudi Arabia splintering into different, albeit smaller, states are highly likely. The chances of having a Greater Bahrain, which unifies the island country with present-day eastern Saudi Arabia, are also increasingly likely. Ironically, the creation of smaller countries within the Arabian peninsula might provide the impetus for establishing a strong union between these various Arabic-speaking sovereign states. Only this time, the union would have a greater chance of being molded by liberalism/secularism than the current union proposal, which is led by Islamist-leaning Saudi Arabia. Therefore, I strongly believe that the key to a unified Arabian peninsula would be the combined collapse of the Saudi state and Wahhabi ideology.

    Personally, however, I think the notion behind the creation of the United Arab Emirates was good enough for the other Arabic-speaking Gulf states to follow. I wouldn’t mind seeing (Greater) Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar join the United Arab Emirates in the future. It’s a much better option than the current alternatives, in my opinion. Furthermore, it’s already quite a successful project, and the UAE is one of the most forward-thinking countries in the region.

    I think I’ll post a separate comment for the other scenarios that I’m most passionate about, since this one has gotten way too long.

    Great website, by the way. :-)

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Thank you for sharing this fascinating information. I am not at all surprised that the New York Times got so many things wrong in this article—indeed, the purpose of this post has been to point out some such errors or additional complications that they missed, so I am grateful to you and the other readers who point out even more problems with the original article!

  • Nadia Al-Belushi

    Moving on from my earlier post, I’d like to tackle a few of the other scenarios that were mentioned in the New York Times article. I’ll start off with the theory of a “Greater Azerbaijan” state. The biggest problem I found, with the article’s explanation of Greater Azerbaijan, was that it failed to accurately depict the number of ethnic Azeris living in Iran. Twenty million people is a gross exaggeration of their total population. There are around seventy five million Iranian citizens today. Therefore, according to the article, it would mean that Azeris account for twenty-five to thirty percent of all Iranian people. Iran’s ethnic Azeri minority never accounted for more than twenty percent of the country’s population — not even during the 1960s, when the Azeri minority achieved its highest ever population proportion in the country, at approximately nineteen percent. Coincidentally, I discussed this issue with someone on Wikipedia, just the other day, while I was searching for reliable figures on the population proportion of the different Turkic-speaking groups around the World. The latest figures I got, from Columbia University’s Gulf/2000 Project, had placed the total number of Azeris in Iran at around ten million people.

    The other issue with the theory of “Greater Azerbaijan” is that most of the Iranian Azeris, who I personally know, do not dissociate themselves from their Persian counterparts. They feel just as Iranian as the Persians, and some of them can be quite nationalistic about it as well, to the point of turning into chauvinists, which is rather off-putting to a woman. Setting aside my personal acquaintances, however, there was an Azeri journalist, in Iran, who called for the annexation of Azerbaijan and caused quite a stir in the media. Therefore, just how successful would a Greater Azerbaijan movement become remains to be seen. I suppose one of the ways to lure ethnic Azeris away from Iranian unity would be to offer incentives that can only be provided by Azerbaijan. Given that Azerbaijan is a member of the Council of Europe and is a Euro-centric/Western-oriented country, much like its larger Turkish counterpart, there always exists a possibility for Azerbaijan to one day join the European Union. Now, should Azerbaijan join the European Union, would it tempt the Iranian Azeris into reevaluating their national allegiances? Heck, it might even attract Persian interest as well, if I may be honest. Even so, it would require an armed conflict that Azerbaijan simply couldn’t afford or stand a chance of winning on its own. Therefore, the idea remains to be far too unrealistic, in my opinion; not because Azerbaijan cant offer the riches of a European Union to the Iranian Azeris, but because the Iranian Azeris themselves are far too attached to their country. We also shouldn’t forget the language shift going on in Iran, which is in the direction of Persian — meaning Azerbaijani is slowly losing ground in Iran.

    With regard to an independent Kurdistan, the biggest question is where will it be located and how far can it stretch? Considering that most of the Kurdish people live in Turkey, this would mean that the Turks would feel most threatened by a Kurdish independence movement, as that would affect the territorial integrity of their country more than any other country with a Kurdish minority. Then again, I will go back to the question of European membership. Should Turkey join the EU, would the Kurds of Turkey be too eager to split from the Turkish state? Probably not. Moreover, as a Turkish friend of mine once said, why would the Kurds of Turkey call for secession if they can “have the whole cake to themselves” fifty years from now? Of course, that is if the Kurds manage to outnumber the Turkish majority with their superior birthrates while still managing to retain their unique sense of identity. Of course, this is just pessimism from the Turkish side, if I may be honest. I believe there will be an independent Kurdish state in the future, but it will most probably only succeed in northern Iraq and Syria. The territorial integrity of Iran and Turkey will probably be crucial to the Israelis in the future, especially once Iran goes back to being an ally of the Jewish state.

    Last but not least is the notion of an independent Pashtun state that happens to encompass Balochi-speaking areas as well, for some odd reason. That’s the most bizarre scenario in the whole article. If the Balochis want their own country, they might as well seek true independence instead of being part of another ethnic group’s geopolitical game. My father’s family is originally from Iranian Balochistan. Most of my relatives in Kuwait and the UAE are happy with the status quo. But if Balochistan was to ever become a reality, it would involve both Iran and Pakistan in a huge conflict against Balochi insurgency, which will probably include Saudi-funded Al-Qaeda groups. In any case, can an independent Balochistan even sustain itself? Most probably not, to be perfectly honest.

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Thanks for sharing those excellent points and for jumping into the discussion. Things are definitely far more complicated than the New York Times journalists make it appear…

      • South Azerbaijan is not Iran

        I am an Azerbaijani Turk from Iran and I know that there was no census based on ethnicity in Iran but, according to census in Iran available in Wikipedia, total number of Azerbaijani population in five Azeri provinces of East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, Ardebil, Qazvin, and Zanjan are about 14 millions whom are generally Turks except for a 10% minority of Kurds in West Azerbaijan. You can add to this 7 millions in Tehran and Alborz provinces. Turk also live in Hamadan, Markazi, Fars, Chaharmahal & Bakhtiari, Gilan, North Khorasan, and Golestan Provinces which is estimated roughly to be 40% of the total population of Iran. Saying Azerbaijanis are 10 millions is linked to the 100-year propaganda and cleansing the Turks in Iran. But, now the young in south Azerbaijan stand up and demand their basic human rights for education in Turkish language, for self determination, and for preserving their history and culture.

        • Iranian-Azeris are Iranian

          Iran is a multi-language, multi-cultural country. For so many years we lived next to each other in the land of Iran. All of my Iranian-Azeri friends are considering themselves as Iranian as Persian. We don’t need separation, we only need development and improvement.

          • Azeri

            Development and Improvement you will get. But it is really hard to lose your history your language your roods my friend. Remember that. Everybody should at least know who is he. Your friends thoughts can not be 30 mln azeri’s thoughts. I know some of them dont want some of them married to azeri or pharsi. That is ok. But if you analyse the situation and history you will see that Azerbaijanians were always on the top of present iranian area. Gacars selcuks Ag qoyunlu qaragoyunlu and etc were azeris.

        • Azeri

          Perfect. Yashasin Azerbaycan redd olsun eRMENISTAN. We are big nation.

    • shafi baloch

      Nadia balochistan will sustain dont need to be worry… People who r running the world are more dump thn us… And sometimes visit Balochistan u’ll realize.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500273314 John Falstaff

      Not only can Balochistan sustain itself it can prosper far better then what we have been put through since our country was divided by the British Empire. To be perfectly honest if a sand filled wasteland like UAE can prosper with just Oil, I daresay Balochistan can prosper with it’s reserves of Oil, Gas, Gypsum, Copper, Gold, Silver, Uranium, Marble, Graphite, Methane, Diamonds, Coal and the richest Fishing coast in the entire Arabian Sea.
      I’m not sure how much you know about Balochistan but times and people have changed and for the better.

    • Xubi

      Iran’s Azerbaijani population is tricky to estimate. So far haven’t met too many Iranians, either in Iran or outside, who did not have any Azerbaijani or Turkic background. But then, identity is another thing. Rough estimates can make 1/3 of Iranians to be of Azerbaijani background, which would make about 25 million. Those who carry Azerbaijani identity and language would be less than this, but how much less, is anybody’s guess.
      About stronger Iranian identity among Azerbaijani’s than an ethnic identity, it could be correct about 20 years ago. Today there is so much ethnic resentment, especially in the Azerbaijani provinces. In may places merely speaking Persian, the supposedly only official language of the country, would be enough to get you in trouble.

    • Saeid

      about the population issue of the Azeri Turks in Iran as those other ethnic miniorities i would say that there is not any exact statistics.. and also there is not exact estimates.. because of the large immigration from Azerbaijani cities to almost any part of iran and mainly to the Tehran and its neighbourhood which anyone who visit Tehran could state that about half of the population of Tehran,karaj,shahriyar… are Azeri Turks.. due to this some dare easily to estimate the Azeri population even up to 30,000,000….

    • Azeri

      You are good educated our friend and you better know the history. Just be honest. It is possibly to destroy 1-2 mln small nations but not 55-60 mln nation of Azerbaijanians all over the world. 30-35 mln in Iran 9.5 mln in Azerbaijan more than 3 mln in Russia( Derbent city in Dagestan), some in Georgia ( Borchali) some in middle Asia ( after USSR’s deprecions) some in Turkey ( Van, Igdir ) and all over the world. That is why it is always hard to destroy the big nations. When they will come together that will be really dangerous for your own country.

  • Suple Activa

    València is a Region of Catalonian Countries.

    • Tehran-Azeri

      Dear Nadia Al-Belushi
      I can assure you that the number of Azeris in Iran is around 25-30 Mill. It seems that statistics of some Universities and Organizations are out of date and do not seem to keep up with the events on the ground in the region. It is fair to say that, alone in Tehran, there are 7-8 Mill. Azeri ,hence, Tehran is called,after Istanbul, the second most populated Turkish city outside Turkey and Republic of Azerbaijan! You can get by with Turkish in Tehran and you meet Azeris from all walks of life.Tragically, most Azeris were forced to leave Azerbaijan thanks to assimilation policy of Shah and now Mullah regimes due to fear of recurring of independence attempt which took place in 1945-6.Since then the central government deliberately keep investment away from Azerbaijan leading to mass migration of our people to other parts of Iran, particularly to Tehran, but also as far as Bandar Abbas the port city in South Iran. This cruel policy has left 2nd and 3rd generation becoming strange with own language,culture and identity and subsequent suffering from social and personality consequences as a result. For example an Azeri coming fresh from province is unable to speak Persian fluently and without Turkish accent. This leaves him with no other choice but to turn to manual and cheap paid jobs as the nationalistic oriented structure of government jobs prohibit him from getting a decent job based merely on his accent. There are also attempt in Iranian media, TV and newspapers, to belittle Azeris as a 2nd class citizen by making jokes or movies portraying them as criminals or people with low IQ(rational is that because a Turkish speaking Azeri does not understand Persian properly, hence, low IQ! The question is who has got low IQ?obviously the one making this judgement!!). Luckily the new generation,mostly thanks to new media like internet, is resisting those attempts of the failed “one-nation” (assimilation) policy of Iran and, who knows, they might one day say “good-by” to Iran and get rid of these insults and discriminations altogether and decide for independence and join the already independent Republic of Azerbaijan. In that respect: The great former German Chancellor, Willy Brandt, had a famous phrase during the reunification process of both German states: “what belongs together will grow together”.
      Iran has got to resolve the nuclear issue with the West soon if the country wants to avoid the economical collapse which seems as a major threat the foundations of the system. But this is probably less evil compared with long term issue of nationalities in Iran`s today`s geography.

      • zam

        bunch of rubbish… i am half azeri half persian and never ever inside iran have i come across someone within family who felt he or she was systematically discriminated against because they were azeri. powerful azeris nowadays rule the country, to name one, how about supreme leader….my dad`s side neither my mom`s side ever felt any alienation to each other`s cultures because they spoke different languages. they were blended at once and never had difficulties understanding each other. Iran is not a good example for this article. a country that has experienced multiculturalism for 25 centuries and has a blended mainstream culture with different shades of colours should not be compared to a federally born european or even north american country where in fact contracts and treaties were signed to form a new country. the whole notion of azeri accent being funny is a relatively new phenomenon made to divide and conquer psychologically, get a sense of humor and understand that iranian plateau as a whole has a much far reaching cultural and historical influence than its political and geopolitical borders.

        • Tehran-Azeri

          Dear Zam
          You seem to live up to the mentality prevalent in Iran by addressing my comment at the beginning and throughout too.
          I am very much familiar with those notions: Khamaneyi is an Azeri,Tehran`s bazar is in Azeri hands, don`t take our jokes seriously, “we just want to have good time”, “we all are Iranians”,…… etc! I do not expect you and alike to understand the level of injustice our people exposed to and that our culture, language,… are dying thanks to the one-nation policy in Iran.It is nothing but power struggle of Persians to dictate to others and see themselves and behave like a Landlord and treat others like tenants. You guys in foreign countries seek to open Persian schools to keep that language and culture alive but back home promote Persian music,….and disagreeing with school,TV,newspaper,…., for others!!!Then, you guys call yourselves educated, familiar with democracy,….but when it comes to Non-Persians you make a U-Turn!! In your eyes life for Non-Persians consists of food,sleep,work,…and if we have those we should be ok without askin for more,then, I am sorry, this is living like animals !!!If you think we should all scarify our identity just for the sake of Persian language and co-existence, I am sorry, my parents and ancestors have already paid heavy price for that policy, and the time has come to save what left from our dying culture and language.
          Dear Zam:IF I STILL DO NOT MAKE SENSE TO YOU,I`M SORRY,THIS IS THE REFLECTION OF CURRENT SOCIETY IN IRAN AND I RECOMMEND YOU TO EDUCATE YOURSELF IF YOU ARE KEEN TO AND HOPE YOU`LL REFRAIN FROM THOSE TRIVIAL COMMENTS AGAIN AND BE MORE SENSITIVE IN ADDRESSING THOSE ISSUES!…Good Luck.

          • Azeri

            Good job friend. I wish every Azerbaijanian living in Iran be informed and fighter in information world. I want all azerbaijanian living in Iran be like you. Inshllah we will see many many celebrities with our brother living in Iran .

        • Ayhan

          The article does not talk about half-Azer people; it talks about genuine Azeri (Turks) inside Iran. The assimilated Azeris empathize with Persians and are not marginalized. A short period of life in Azerbaijan will prove the discrimination, not living outside and talking about the inside. I can assure you that it is not th case that there is not a problem; rather it is that you don not see the problem.

        • Azeri

          ZAm so tell me friend why Iranian government dont like us and they always support armenian invaders their christian brothers rather than Muslims who always want their peaceful life? Why ? Have you every heard about Khodjaly genocide ? Pls google it and see with whom you are making friendship. So why 30 mln azerbaijanians dont have their school radio TV etc, but s armenian terrorists living in Iran has school, radio their churches and everything? If you find the answer for my questions you will understand why. Ok ? Iran still help armenian terorists.

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  • Saim Dušan Inayatullah

    I dispute the idea that Basque separatism has lost impetus because of political violence. The Basque Autonomous Community and Navarre (which together with the Iparralde areas of France form the Basque Country) have a special deal with the Spanish state wherein they form their own budget and then send a small part to the Spanish central government. In all other autonomous communities all revenue is sent to the Spanish government first which is then . This means that the Basque Country has a much higher level of economic autonomy than Catalonia, which makes Basque nationalists (especially those more towards the right-wing of the political spectrum) much more complacent.

    The Catalans asked for the same treatment in 2006, but the Spanish state denied it. The argument was that the Basques have “historic rights” because the Kingdom of Navarre had a special accord with Castile while the Crown of Aragon (the Catalan language area + the Aragon region) was fully assimilated into a centralized Spanish monarchy in the early 1700s with the local laws of its member kingdoms/principalities erased. 2006 was a major turning point in Catalan politics because it marked the point where Catalans in favour of a Spanish federation became dissilusioned and started converting to secessionism en masse.

    I agree with the idea that the difference between the strength of Catalan nationalism in Catalonia versus the Balearic Islands and the Valencian Country is rooted in economic factors, but it’s not just that “Catalans want more money” as some Spaniards tend to simplify it. The Balearics actually contribute more proportionally than Catalonia does, and the Valencian Country is not particularly far off. The difference has more to do with historical than present-day economics – Catalonia and the Basque Country were the two areas of Spain that industrialized the earliest and so they developed strong autochtonous elites, whereas other non-ethnically Castilian areas of Spain remained predominantly rural and so were easier to assimilate. This is reflected by the fact that outside of Catalonia and the Basque Country, most non-Spanish nationalists are left-wing – this reflects the fact that the Valencian, Galician, Asturian and Balearic elites are Hispanophile.

    So I would avoid characterizing Catalonia as just an “unsolidary region” of Spain that wants to seceede for purely economic reasons. The cultural aspect is very important and the two sets of factors feed each other in the sense that Catalonia’s and Barcelona’s economic strength has allowed it to more effectively resist attempts at centralization and Castilianization by Madrid.

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Thanks for sharing this. Catalan independence movement is a complex issue indeed…

  • Massimo Lodi Rizzini

    the return of feudalism

    • Saim Dušan Inayatullah

      I’ve heard this argument a lot, but it makes no real sense. Feudalism isn’t about having smaller nation-states, it’s about serfs being property of feudal lords. That has nothing to do with contemporary secessionist movements.

      • Massimo Lodi Rizzini

        “Divide et Impera”, colonialism and feudalism are always for the “small is beautiful”, the great supranational financial and commercial interests have always sought to divide the nation states into small communities easy to subjugate

        • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

          If it’s all about subjugation by “the great supranational financial and commercial interests”, why is it that so many regions around the world want to separate from the larger states they are in now? To be more easily subjugated?

          • Massimo Lodi Rizzini

            the population is in panic because of the economic crisis and the Sophists make them believe that autonomy and separatism is the solution to end the crisis, But the money is controlled by a few private bankers who continue to dominate the fate of the people and the lands who became small in numbers and in ideas.

          • pawl dunbar

            You are confusing two separate issues. Were it not so late I’d respond…

        • pawl dunbar

          Hardly. Colonialism and centralisation of wealth and power, and the creation of ‘pseudo-nations’ by corraling annexed nations (e.g. the so-called ‘United Kingdom’) was the trend. Now the tide is turning and the list of nations which have achieved independence grows longer. Who wants to be occupied, subjugated and exploited by a foreign power? That is the driving force behind independence movements.

        • Saim Dušan Inayatullah

          Once again, feudalism has nothing to do with the capitalist nation-state model. Having smaller nation-states isn’t feudalism, it’s just smaller nation-states.

  • Nadia Al-Belushi

    Dear Ms Asya Pereltsvaig,

    I just came across this recently published article by none other than the New York Times:
    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/09/29/sunday-review/how-5-countries-could-become-14.html?_r=0

    I hope you enjoy it. :-)

    Yours sincerely,
    Nadia

  • http://www.polgeonow.com/ Evan (PolGeoNow)

    Thanks for reviewing that NYT piece. As another commenter said, the reporting there was especially sloppy, not only brushing aside plausibility for highly imaginative predictions, but also containing a few factual errors. I appreciate your caveats. One you didn’t mention is that, in addition to Somaliland not being closely associated with piracy, Puntland has a strict policy of anti-separatism. Even during periods such as now when it declines to cooperate with the national government, the Puntland government still explicitly does not seek independence. That could change in the future, of course, but it’s incorrect to say it “wants no part” in federal Somalia. On the contrary, it was involved in drafting the federal constitution, and its disputes with Mogadishu revolve specifically around the details of its future participation as a federal state.

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Thank you for your excellent points, Evan!

  • khalstanee

    nothing about the khalistan the empire taken over by pakistan india with kashmir and tibet as part of it

    • Saim Dušan Inayatullah

      My father’s family are all Punjabi Muslims, and I personally don’t see why Khalistan makes any historical, cultural or economic sense when compared to a united secular Punjab. Keep in mind that Lahore is the historical capital of Punjab, and yet lies in Pakistan and has a huge Muslim majority. I’m sympathetic with you because I’ve seen the problems Pakistan has gone through since partition, but I don’t think the creation of another religion-based state is the answer – the first one (Pakistan) was already a huge mistake. We should all work for a united, secular and sovereign Punjab confederated with other South Asian countries.

      Panjab Zindabad bhai! :)

  • Baloch

    Balochistan <3 I hope to see Balochistan free

    • Samira Irani

      Most of the Iranians are suffering from the mismanagement and bad governance. Our problem is the regime, we need to be united! Balochs in Iran are also Iranians. I hope the life gets better for all Iranian people.

      • Ayhan

        The problem is not the regime; there needs to be some changes in the system of the government. Experience yell us that!

  • Alban Bogeat

    Very stimulating reading, as usual, congratulations !

    At a time when globalization seems to be going to level off
    everything, it is very refreshing to see that a number of regions in the world
    are proud of their identity and on their way to get their difference
    recognized, mostly in a pacific way.
    As a European citizen, I am glad that sooner or later our higher officials in Brussels, as well as our national governments will have to get closer
    to the people and accept the emergence of new entities.

    About the NY Times article, I also have some reservations : potential new countries all over the world, except in the America’s… How strange… A typically American-centric view ; and I would quote at least one example there: Quebec, which highly deserves its independence too : French Canadians have been struggling for three centuries to preserve
    their identity, after being abandoned by France, now surrounded by more than 300 million english-speaking people, and long treated as second zone citizens by the Canadian government. By the way, this would result in an interesting situation : the partition of Canada into West and East Canada (just as there was West and East Pakistan after India’s independence …)

    Eventually, as far as Europe is concerned, the case of Savoy (in the French Alps) should also be mentioned : Savoy was absorbed by France in1860 after an “unfair” referendum where the choice was between joining Italy or
    France. The possibility to get independent was not offered, nor was the
    possiblity to join Switzerland. Regionalism is still strong there (though local
    dialect has vanished), as you may judge from many car license plates showing the Savoy Cross sticker glued over the official Rhone-Alpes region logo, which is perfectly unlawful…,

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Thank you for your comments, Alban. The case of Savoy is indeed fascinating and rarely if ever mentioned in the press.

      As for Quebec, it seems to me that their independence movement is not quite as active lately as it has been in the past. Maybe the deal they get with Canada now is not too bad after all (I know this will probably enrage a bunch of nationalists, but that’s just what I see, after having lived there for some years). Quebec does have a significant degree of autonomy, as it is, for example, they control their own immigration. Whether the current autonomy is enough is the question. I bet for many people it is.

      Elsewhere in North America, the case of certain counties that want to sucede from their current state (though not from the United States as a whole) is fascinating—today’s GeoCurrents post will discuss it, so stay tuned!

  • Alban Bogeat

    Very stimulating reading,
    as usual, congratulations !

 At a time when globalization seems to be going to level off
everything, it is very refreshing to see that a number of regions in
    the world
 are proud of their identity and on their way to get their difference
    
recognized, mostly in a pacific way.
 As a European citizen, I am glad that
    sooner or later our
 higher officials in Brussels, and national governments too, will have to get closer
 to the people and accept the emergence of new
    entities. 



    About the NY Times article, I also have some reservations : potential new countries all over the world, except in the America’s… How strange… and I would quote at least one example there: Quebec, which highly deserves its
    independence too : French Canadians have been struggling for three
    centuries to preserve 
their identity, after being abandoned by France, now
    surrounded by more than 300 million english-speaking people, and long
    treated as second zone citizens by the Canadian government. By the way,
    this would result in an interesting situation : the partition of Canada
    into West and East Canada (just as there was West and East Pakistan
    after India’s independence …)

.

    As far as Europe is concerned, the case of Savoy (in the French Alps) should also be mentioned: Savoy was absorbed by France in1860 after an “unfair” referendum where the choice was between joining Italy or
 France. The possibility to get independent was not offered, nor was the 
possiblity to join Switzerland. Regionalism is still strong there (though local
 dialect has vanished), as you may judge from many car license plates showing the Savoy Cross sticker glued over the official Rhone-Alpes region logo, which is perfectly unlawful with regard to the French regulations …

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Thank you for your comments, Alban. The case of Savoy is really interesting and I am glad you brought it up. As for Quebec, its independence movement is not as active as it was in the past, and I wonder if that’s because the current autonomy that Quebec has (such as control over its own immigration policy) is, or seems to many people to be, enough. I’d love to see if any of our readers, especially from that part of the world, have an opinion on the matter…

    • Mainlander

      “long treated as second zone citizens by the Canadian government” Oh please. This is a lie. Ever heard of Wilfrid Laurier, Louis St. Laurent, Pierre Trudeau or Jean Chretien? All were Prime Ministers of Canada who were Francophone Quebeckers.

  • http://tsavkko.blogspot.com Raphael Tsavkko

    Its a mistake to consider that the BAsque nationalism has lost its impetus. On the contrary. ETA is just one visible part of the Spanish propaganda against basques. The State violence is greater, with tortures, political arrests and ilegalization of organizations and political parties, and that’s what disgust more the basques. More than 70% of the Basque Parliament is made up by nationalists.

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Indeed. Still, the more violent strand in the Basque nationalist movement has become less conspicuous and perhaps less effective…

      • http://tsavkko.blogspot.com Raphael Tsavkko

        Indeed, that was true back in 2000-2010, but since then the nationalist left (EH Bildu, Bildu and Amaiur) grew steadly and the right-wing nationalists of PNV kept also their strengh. Since ETA decided to declare cease-fire and started peace talks (despite the fact that the central Spanish governemtn doesn’t wan’t to talk with’em) the nationalist movement grew a lot.

        • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

          Is there much Basque nationalist terrorism nowadays?

          • http://tsavkko.blogspot.com Raphael Tsavkko

            None. But there’s plenty of state-sponsored terrorist against BAsques.

          • http://tsavkko.blogspot.com Raphael Tsavkko

            None. But there’s plenty of State sponsored terrorism, such as torture, judicial persecution, threats against nationalist movements…

  • real catalan

    Catalan people are freaks. They are indoctrinating kids in schools, and they lie. Nobody in Alicante speaks catalan, and in Valencia and Baleares, catalan is a real minority. Also, the most important societies based in Catalonia, are going to other zones. They are against radical government in Catalonia (CIU, ERC, PSC, ICV)

    • Josva Petersson Thorkell

      Perdona, pero creo que alguien que ha vivido en la Comunitat Valenciana sabe si se habla más o menos el catalán, y te diré que puede que en la Ciudad de Alicante no se hable el, pero en el resto de la provincia es mayoría, así como en la mitad oriental de la provincia de Valencia y casi todo Castellón. Respecto a Baleares lo desconozco, pero no intentes llamarte “Real Catalan” y despotricar tan falsamente, porque no tiene sentido.

      • Saim Dušan Inayatullah

        Hay que tener muy poca vergüenza para cualificar todo el pueblo catalán de “mentirosos”, y después mentir tan descaradamente. La hipocresía del nacionalismo español (que si odiamos los catalanes pero no queremos que marchen) realmente da pena.

    • Saim Dušan Inayatullah

      The Catalan language is also a minority in Catalonia – only about 36% are native speakers even though most Spanish-speaking Catalans have some knowledge of it. So if having a Catalan-speaking majority nowadays is the only criteria for belonging to the Catalan countries then there are no Catalan Countries, unfortunately. That’s why Catalonia, to a lesser extent the Balearics and to an even lesser extent Valencia are undergoing processes of linguistic normalization, to preserve the use of Catalan – which is something Castilians (who have apropriated and monopolized the “Spanish” identity) seem to have some almost visceral rejection to. “Those Catalans are brainwashing children” – what nonsense, as if teaching a child -more- languages was brainwashing them!

      You say the “radical government” of CiU, ERC, PSC and ICV – the thing is, only CiU is in the government with the support of ERC (although it’s not an official coalition). PSC and ICV are fully in opposition! Between all these parties and the CUP (the most radically separatist party in the parliament) you have about 107 out of 135 seats – so according to you 80% of the Catalan parliament is ‘radical’!

      Also, Alicante is a historically Catalan-speaking, even though unfortunately Catalan mostly disappeared from its streets in the last century (nowadays I think it’s around 5-10% of native Catalan speakers, but there are many Spanish-speakers that go to Catalan-medium schools and all of them have to take Catalan as a subject)…

      “Also, the most important societies based in Catalonia, are going to other zones.” – that sentence doesn’t make any sense; I haven’t the faintest idea of what you mean by “the most important societies” (les societats més importants doesn’t make any sense either, so I don’t know what word you’re trying to translate there).

    • ESQUIROL

      POBRE IGNORANTE; YES,AND THI ERTH IS A DISC!!!
      AND IN TIBET,EWERYBODY SPEAK CHINESE!!! AND WHY???

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  • Biwatan

    Thank you , it is good news for Baloch nation . We waiting for independent Balochistan

  • Nicolin du Corti

    it is a pity that the world does not know our history and our country! The Savoy was indeed present in the states of Savoy until 1860, when the fraudulent annexation of the country by France. And since then, France is doing everything to destroy our history and our people!

  • Pierre Borrel

    SAVOIE MILLENAIRE LIBRE et INDEPENDANTE. France, out of Savoy !!!

  • BzHCelticGlazik

    This is more like a fantasy than anything independence. Scotland approaches the independence movement but I do not see Brittany (where I come from), Corsica and other French regions become independent. No 2020 anyway …

  • Joshua Hale

    Scotland isn’t a new country. Scotland itself has existed as a united country for 1000 years; its just out statehood was relinquished in the act of union in 1707. Hopefully we’ll vote to get it back in 2014. Also, visca Catalonia! ;)

  • Filippo IronMan Noceti

    You have to know that there is a small nation with any right to be independent but that still under italian illegal occupation.

    This land is the republic of Genoa that during Vienna Congress has been annexed to Kingdom of Sardinia (the most ancient portion of kingdom of Italy) without any right, without any plebiscite (that other parts of Italy had voted).

    Its population is reduced to the condition of very serious danger of extinction because the injection of hundreds of thousand people from other places of Italy (specially Calabria and southern Italy in general).

  • Cédric Fontaine vive Curtaz

    Hi,
    Tanks for this article.
    I can add Savoie (Savoy) small state colonized by France since 1860. International laws and rights are violated and a people is shut off…
    When a people is shut, he is ready for slavery…
    Free Savoy.

  • Josh P

    Don’t forget other lands and cultures as Alsace, Savoy, Occitania and County of Nissa (that belongs to France for only 150 years). Own culture, own language and desire to break out with a country they stop supporting.

    • Saim Dušan Inayatullah

      I know some Occitan and occasionaly read and watch Occitan news (because it’s very similar to the Catalan I speak in my daily life here in Barcelona), and unfortunately as far as I can tell Occitan activists have enough issues trying to convince the population that they even are Occitans, let alone that this Occitan identity justifies the creation of a separate sovereign state. It’s sad but that’s how it is, at least at the moment.

  • Mohammad

    Frank Jacobs and Parag Khanna, you can …. yourselves with this absurd opinion.
    Sincerely an Iranian Azarbayjani.

  • South Azerbaijan

    Iran is a new name for the country ruled by Turks specially Azerbaijani Turks including Qajarid, Safavid, Afsharid, Aq Qoyunlu, Kara Quyunlo, Ilkhanid, Teymurid, Seljuks and Harezmshahid dynasties for 1100 years. Before hundred years ago the countries name were changing with the royals’ name like Seljuks and Ottomans in nowadays Turkey. Today, 40% of the population of Iran are Turks and speak Turkish and systematic assimilation and discrimination has been carried out in last 90 years by Persians, who are not tolerant at all with establishing a single school or single median in Turkish language in Iran and they spread propagandas that all the Iranians are Persians but in fact 35% are of whole 75 millions in Iran are Persians and the rest are Turks, Turkmens, Lurs, Kurds, Baluchs, and Arabs. Azerbaijan will be independent in near future and will join EU in future.

    • Samira Irani

      Sorry for my bad English. I know there are many discrimination through current government. But everyone is suffering, it is not just azeri-language speaking people. Kurds, Balochs, lurs, azeries, …, and persians are suffering from lack of human rights and democracy in Iran. You should remember the dictator, Khamenei, by himself is an azeri. In Iran we even don’t have right to choose our cloths, then how you can tell because azeri people don’t study in their own language they should get independence! We need change in the governance system. We are one!

      • Saim Dušan Inayatullah

        Everyone is opressed by the Iranian government, definitely, but where’s the guarantee that mother tongue education and other expressions of linguistic diversity would be respected in a democratic Iran? Just look at France for the perfect example of a ‘democracy’ that on the issue of ethnolinguistic diversity acts just as badly as the worst dictatorship.

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  • Ehsan

    Having read many sites regarding ethnic groups in IRAN, one can easily notice that disputes about human rights and right for learning in mother tongue is high. Some racists in Iran insist on showing an unique map of Iran, saying all ethnic groups came from one race called ARYA. And spread this thought that in Iran we have no Turk and Arab, or if we have they are not pure race or genuine Iraninan . They put some discriminations on those ethnic while may in media some would not notice, you should live here to make out of all those dicriminations

  • Lsg

    Please note that city Nantes should be included in Brittany, although it has been splited by France.

  • Weston Moss

    Secession and self-government is a human right of all people.

  • davemundy

    The list omits Texas.

  • azad

    Thanks for sharing this.

    viva great azerbayjan

  • mj

    Correct population of Azerbaijani in Iran is 30 million

  • Mehdi Patel

    very zio racist imperialist shit…everything serves the wests interests…more likely the silk road will re emerge and along with it the arab and asian peoples prosperity..

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Mind your language, please!

  • Pat Hines

    Interesting that the authors left out the devolution of the areas of what are held to the United States in much the same fashion the various states of the old Soviet Union were held.

    We in the south, Hawaii, Alaska, the Pacific northwest, the Rocky Mountain states, Vermont, and others will all form around our nationalities.

    Southrons are not Americans, indeed there are no Americans at all, so we will reacquire our state sovereignty and form or not form coalitions of fellow southern states.

    Soon, too. We just don’t need the United States.

  • Persian Lion

    There is only PERSIAN GULF !

  • hamid

    fuck you,you mother fucker better watch your ass instead of commenting of where should be independed or divided..mother fucker..bastard..

  • Hamed

    The Arabian Gulf Union? May be the authors of this article do not have even undergraduate degree, because in historical and geographical books there is not any name like this. I think they mean Persian Gulf.

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      I’ve cited the use in the article by Frank
      Jacobs and Parag Khanna. They talk about “Arabian Gulf Union” and so I
      cited exactly what they say. I will also draw your attention to the fact that
      the English expression “Arabian Gulf Union” is linguistically ambiguous
      between [[Arabian Gulf]
      Union] (i.e. a union of states around the “Arabian Gulf”, the use which
      you complained about) and [Arabian [Gulf Union]] (i.e. Gulf Union that
      Arab countries are part of). I believe that Jacobs and Khanna meant it
      in the latter sense as they talk about a union of Arabic states at the
      Gulf, which Iran is not involved in. If you look at the map, it becomes clear what they are talking about.

      As
      regards the issue of what that specific body of water is or should be
      called, Martin Lewis has written an article on that a while ago:

      http://geocurrents.info/geopolitics/whats-in-a-place-name-the-gulf-controversy

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  • elman

    we wanna independence in south azerbayjan(iran turks)

  • Ayhan

    The map of Iran that you have displayed here is somehow disguised. Azerbaijan is a little bit bigger than what appears here. Its territory expands in south-western areas which you have included in the Kurdistan territory. Moreover, Iran’s unstable political status will pave the way to an accelerated collapse, I think, despite the fact that Azeris especially are not thinking much about independence, freedom, autonomy or similar changes.

  • Renato Barros
  • Harkaitz

    There is a mistake with the borders of the basque country, because we can´t see the part of navarre and the north, so that map is fragmented. We don´t want a fragmented nation. So that map are 3 of the 7 basque regions, when they are united we can achive a 6 regions state because two of then have the same name, one in the north france and the other in the south. In 1512 Nabarra (the name in basque, plane among mountains was born in the V century when spanish didn´t exist us such, to defend Iruña/pamplona from conquerors and not to be a part of other nation) the basque estate was conquested by spanish troops, losting our own laws in 1841. We have many diferences with this foreign spanish people. The names the surnames the culture the languaje the oldest languaje of europe that they want to remove using xenophomian skills. so in this map we can´t see the historical pamplona city included which is the reason why we claim this estate. Most of basques dont wanna see this 3 provinces estate instead of a 6 region republic or the historical Navarre without regions.

  • Greenferry

    Azawad: The rise of radical Islam does not explain the general Tuareg population’s desire for independence,
    which derives from decades of oppression and human rights atrocities under French colonial and Malian
    post-independence governments.

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      It explains it in part, which is why I put it as a second conjunct in “Both Berber nationalism and the rise of radical Islam led to the separation of Azawad”, noting also that the situation is far more complex than the New York Times article has it.

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  • Ferran

    Sorry but it’s cristal clear that a vast amjority of Catalan citzents do want independence. And Extremadura or Andalusia are currently reacher regions than the Valencian Country which, nevertheless, is still paying more than them and receiving much less.

  • Manel Quevedo

    I am Catalan and I don’t deserve to be independent of Spain. What we have to do is to work for the construction of a new country, Iberia. After the parcial independence of Catalonia, a stronger and more natural social, cultural, political and economical movement will arise: the iberism (el iberismo). Aupa Iberia! Viva Europa!

  • Ruí

    Freedom for Galician Country. Stop spanish repression.

  • Steafan Dubhuidhe

    Left out of this list are Sardinia and Sicily, both of which have their own independence movements.

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Good point, Steafan!

  • Steafan Dubhuidhe

    Also, you left out Vermont.

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  • Mr. Econotarian

    We are one species. The only reason why cultural-based nations exist is because of lack of economic and political freedom. In a free country, you can be whomever you want to be, speak the language you want, worship the god(s) or lack thereof, and you should not have to be a certain cultural member to get equal treatment from the government. Rather than seek cultural enclaves, we should be seeking freedom.

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Different cultures have different values and states are built on these values. When there are contradictions in values, I don’t see how different culture can be “free” and equal in a state/Society.

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  • Milos

    Vojvodina does not have any true autonomy since 1988, when it was abolished by Serbain dictator Slobodan Milosevic. Present day autonomy is just a facade. Vojvodina is being exploited by Serbain nationalists in Belgrade.
    It is not just Vojvodina’s Hungarians who want looser ties with Serbia proper, many Vojvodina’s Serbs also want the same thing. Vojvodina’s Serbs, who’s family roots are in Vojvodina for a longer period of time, consider them self as almost a different nation than does Serbs living in Serbia proper. Vojvodina also had a great number of deserters (200.000 out of population of 2.000.000) during the Yugoslav wars, when atrocities by Serb forces included genocide (Srebrenica, Tomasica…), siege of Sarajevo… They felt that it was not their war and they refused to participate.
    Situation in Vojvodina is heating up as Serbian hard-core nationalists are making Vojvodina a new enemy. They are destroying any little remnant of autonomy that remained. Calls for the total independence are ever more increasing. International community should keep a close eye on the situation because the same people who were in power during Milosevic era, occupy the seats in Serbian government today.

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Thanks for bringing this up. An important topic to be sure.

  • BisTod

    About Italy. Padania has no historical identity, was invented by a small populist party. In any case, no one seriously thinks of leave Italy.

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  • jemblue

    Normandy? I’m not sure why it would be a proposed independent state. There are calls to unite Haute-Normandie and Basse-Normandie into a single French region, but nothing resembling an independence movement. Normandy has been an integral part of France for 800 years . . . it’s not likely to go anywhere.

    • http://www.pereltsvaig.com Asya Pereltsvaig

      Good points, jemblue. I guess nationalists and extremists of all stripes tend to blow their cause out of proportion and this may well be an example of that.

  • Abdirahman musa

    I love to see somaliland of from Somalia

  • mario t

    Freedom for Croatian Republic of Herzeg-Bosnia.